Home > Famous Astrologers > The Biography of William Lilly

The Biography of William Lilly

By: Libby Pelham BA - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
William Lilly Horary Astrology Occultist

William Lilly was a 17th century astrologer and occultist well known for his specialty in interpreting astrological charts for horary questions. Horary astrology was a branch in which an astrologer would try to find the answer to a question by drawing up a horoscope for the exact time and place when the question was asked.

Lilly was born at Diseworth in Leicestershire in 1602. He was educated at the school of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. By the time he was 17, his family had fallen on hard times and he went to London to work for an elderly couple. It was at this time that he began an interest in astrology. Lilly read all the books on astrology that he could find and built quite an impressive library of classic texts.

Astrology

By 1634, Lilly had begun practicing astrology and other forms of the occult such as talismanic magic, invoking spirits and gazing at crystals. However, when his health declined, he turned his back on all these practices, with the exception of astrology. The next five years were spent honing his astrological skills.

Lilly began publishing yearly prophetic almanacs, which were extremely popular. His first, titled Merlinus Anglicus Junior, published in 1644, foretold of the King's defeat at the Battle of Naseby in 1645. This yearly almanacs eventually helped establish him as England's leading astrologer. His most comprehensive book is Christian Astrology, first published in 1647 in three separate volumes. It was so popular and gave such great insight into horary astrology; it has never been totally out of print. Lilly himself studied thousands of horary charts and was able to give accurate answers to most of the questions asked of him.

However, Lilly felt freest to practice his astrology during Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate (1652-1658). It was during this time that the sales of his yearly almanacs reached 30,000. He even privately consulted with Cromwell's son-in-law, John Claypole. It was through him that Lilly met Bulstrode Whitelocke and many other members of the Long Parliament, including the speaker, Sir Philip Stapleton. Through these acquaintances, Lilly became involved in the politics of revolutionary England.

But Lilly's comments often got him in trouble. In 1652, he was imprisoned because he predicted that the army and commoners would join forces to overthrow the new government, which they felt was dictatorial and unfair.

His Greatest Controversy

Lilly, now under censorship by the government again, saw his astrology practice decline in the 1660's. In 1665, he left London to escape the Great Plague, but in 1666, he was called back to appear before a committee. In 1652, William Lilly had predicted the Great Fire of London and the committee as well as many of Lilly's enemies were out to prove the fire had been set on purpose. He managed, with the assistance of politician and fellow occultist Elias Ashmole, to convince them that he knew nothing about the cause of the fire.

Lilly began studying medicine in 1670 and after being granted a license, often treated the poor for free. He continued to publish his yearly almanacs, but due to declining health, it was with the assistance of his "adopted son," Henry Coley. Lilly died on June 9, 1681.

Today, Lilly is still remembered as the principal authority of horary astrology and has influenced many of today's astrologers, including John Frawley, Olivia Barclay and J. Lee Lehman.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • King leo
    Re: Personality Traits of a Leo
    So whoever wrote the post with the name GIF sucks. Not all leos are like that , but i appreciate you taking your negative…
    26 March 2020
  • Boothing
    Re: Astrology and Fertility
    When will i be able conceive i did multiple abortions and had one miscarriage july 2nd 1995
    17 March 2020
  • Chinna
    Re: Astrology and Fertility
    Hi. Could you please tell me at what age I will get pregnant for 1st kid. My DOB is 18th September 1992 and time of birth 1.20 am. My…
    9 March 2020
  • Tea
    Re: Virgo in Love
    I’m a Virgo and I married a Virgo. We have been married for 23 years with 6 babies. I love this man’s soul. He is so hands on, patience, calm,…
    3 March 2020
  • Codie
    Re: Astrology and Fertility
    Hello when will me and my husband have our first baby. Date of birth 19/2/1996
    1 March 2020
  • Affo
    Re: Islamic Astrology
    My birth date is 13th of March 1997 at 7:30 AM.
    29 February 2020
  • Bhavya
    Re: Astrology and Fertility
    When will my sister have a baby, 3yrs back she experienced miscarriage her date of birth is 25/12/1987 time between 5-6, her spouse date…
    25 February 2020
  • Mystic
    Re: Virgo in Love
    I am a Virgo woman who was married to a Virgo man and our marriage was great. Then I was in a 6 yr relationship with a Virgo man whom he and i shared…
    19 February 2020
  • Bruh
    Re: Personality Traits of a Sagittarius
    Where the hell are Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj on the list??! I mean.. Like srsly they are the most famous sags
    18 February 2020
  • Lexi
    Re: Cancer in Love
    I'm a Sagittarius girl. A cancer man pursued me for about a year. For some reason I always felt it would never work out and said no. But he never…
    14 February 2020